Birmingham Moseley 15 – 11 Rotherham

by Paul Smith, Birmingham Moseley

Second half tries from Aaron Crofts and Oli Morris steered Birmingham Moseley to a come-from-behind 15-11 National One home win over Rotherham Titans.

The hosts trailed 3-11 at the end of an opening 40 minutes during which Lewis Wilson crossed for the visitors while former Moseley fly half Sam Hollingsworth added two penalties.

Ben Palmer had kicked the home side’s only points before the break, and he also added a conversion during a second period in which the Red-and-Blacks held Rotherham scoreless.

This result leaves Moseley jointly in second place in the table after five rounds of action, alongside Rosslyn Park and Cinderford. All three clubs trail leaders Richmond by four points.

The contest was barely out of the starting blocks when Rotherham claimed the only try of the first 40 minutes.

The visitors’ midfield loop released full back Sam Allan on halfway from where he galloped to the base of the home posts. Although Moseley eventually dragged him down, visiting flanker Wilson was on hand to regather and score.

Titans’ prop Harry Whitfield was then held up in goal before Hollingsworth split the uprights from 30 metres when referee Roberts returned for an earlier Moseley high tackle.

A series of forward carries then took play into the visitors’ territory for a sustained spell, and when Rotherham infringed on the ground Palmer drilled over a 22-metre penalty.

The Titans twice used the slope to good effect to take play into the home 22 where they won a penalty on the ground which Hollingsworth translated into three points with a well-struck kick.

This left Rotherham with an eight-point interval advantage which the hosts soon cut by seven thanks to Crofts’ first try of the season.

The lock powered over from close range after Palmer planted a penalty won by a long spell of Moseley continuity accurately to the corner.

The home No.10 also converted, and the hosts then took the lead for the first time soon after a dangerous Rotherham move was stopped deep in the home 22 by a forward pass.

Worcester Warriors’ academy centre Morris claimed the touchdown after breaking a number of tackles following a flowing multi-phase handling move.

The hosts played some flowing attacking rugby in the fourth quarter, but three times failed to apply the finishing touch which would have made the points secure.

When Jonny Arr broke from his own five-metre line, Mason Tonks burst to halfway before quick hands released Aquile Smith down the left. But with the try-of-the-season award beckoning, Cliffie Hodgson narrowly failed to hold the winger’s out of the tackle scoring pass.

Morgan Dawes was then unable to hang on to Kieran Joyce’s offload when under heavy pressure on Rotherham’s tryline.

And when Morris escaped down the right, his scoring pass to Tonks again went to ground.

This meant the visitors had one last opportunity when they put a penalty into the home 22, but Moseley’s defence held firm to deliver a third consecutive home win.


Birmingham Moseley: Hodgson; Tonks, Morris, Joyce, Smith; Palmer, Jolly; Foreman, Austin, Dimen; Crofts, Wright; Stephens, Dawes, Lawrence.

Replacements: Priest, Tanner, Hunt, Monks, Arr.

Rotherham Titans: Allan; Robbins, Tom Williams, Cooke, Leake; Hollingsworth, Boxhall;Whitfield, Newborn, R.Ward; E.Ward, Frost; Wilson, Poole, Maka.

Replacements: Toby Williams, Dennis, Preston-Routledge, Laxton, Bunting.

Referee: Llyr Apgeraint-Roberts

Attendance: 775

Birmingham Mail Star Man: Danny Wright

Half-time: Birmingham Moseley 3-11 Rotherham Titans


Birmingham Moseley:

Tries: Crofts (47), Morris (61)

Cons: Palmer (47)

Pens: Palmer (19)

Rotherham Titans:

Tries: Wilson (2)

Pens: Hollingsworth (9) (27)

Blackheath 44 – 19 Hull Ionians

Report by Graham Cox, Blackheath Rugby

A one-sided contest, with Blackheath at times showing real class, and scoring six excellent tries. On the downside it was also a game that lapsed into periods of poor control and with plenty of errors, from both sides.

However, the Club started the game at pace and their overall dominance was never in question once Freddie Owen took lineout ball from Mike Perks, the pack drove forward, and Markus Burcham sent Henry Staff through the defensive line in only the fourth minute.

Freddie Gabbitass’ cross-field punt saw a defensive error for Jake Lloyd to touch down in the corner, and although the pace slowed, and Ionians’ outside-centre Jack Colbourne’s intercept (after a wayward pass) allowed the visitors to respond with their opening score, Stef Liebenberg’s delightful backward pass sent Owen through another defensive hole to add a third for the hosts.

Jack Rouse, making his Club debut at blind-side, turned over possession in midfield for Lloyd to make a strong break down the right flank, the Club wing held just short, and Mike Perks on hand to complete the bonus point score. And although Ionians’ second-row Tom Peters reached out across the goal-line to keep the visitors in touch, at 24-12 Blackheath held the upper hand at the interval.

Any prospect of a miraculous comeback was stifled by the hour-mark as two Gabbitass penalties, both for scrum infringements, sandwiched a lovely show-and-go from Burcham to put Ben Ransom over for a try and a 37-12 advantage.

Nevertheless, the Yorkshiremen kept battling and prop Joshua Peace’s try on 66 minutes from a close-range tap-penalty gave them a glimmer of a four-try bonus. But in their eagerness, ball fell loose in attack, and as Blackheath broke out of defence through Lloyd, the Club right-wing sent his left-wing colleague Craig Dowsett away from 40-metres to close out the match.

Next Saturday, Blackheath travel to Cheshire to face Sale FC. Kick-off at Heywood Road is 2.00 pm.


Tries: Staff, Lloyd, Owen, Perks, Ransom, Dowsett

Conv: Gabbitass 3, Cooke

Pens: Gabbitass 2

Hull Ionians

Tries: Colbourne, Peters, Peace

Conv: Titchener 2

Blackheath Team

15 . Ben Ransom
14 . Jake Lloyd
13 . Henry Staff
12 . Markus Burcham (Capt)
11 . Craig Dowsett
10 . Freddie Gabbitass
9 . Stef Liebenberg
1 . Tom Williams
2 . Mike Perks
3 . Danny Herriott
4 . Devin Montgomery
5 . Tom Stradwick
6 . Harvey Scott
7 . Jack Rouse
8 . Freddie Owen
16 . Harry Fry
17 . Harry Seward
18 . Andrew Daish
19 . Jack Daly
20 . Mark Cooke
Graham Cox

Cambridge 14 – 25 Old Elthamians
Report by Jon Edwards, Old Elthamians

Tom White kicked 17 points as Elthamians secured a narrow victory over Plymouth Albion in an incident-packed encounter at College Meadow.
Old Elthamians 27 Plymouth Albion 20

‘Potentially season-defining’ was how Gavin Lach described it immediately afterwards and there was no doubt this was a sorely needed victory for Elthamians after two disappointing defeats on the spin.

Aside from their continuing propensity for conceding needless penalties in a disjointed opening half hour, this was a major improvement on the performances against Sale and Rosslyn Park.

OEs DoR was also delighted with the contributions of two players making their league debuts for the club.
Lock Dylan Flashman’s first league start has been a long time coming. A serious hamstring injury sustained in the pre-season fixture in Jersey back in August 2018, caused him to miss the whole of last season. And the former Wimbledon captain was eager to make up for lost time at College Meadow on Saturday. A powerful and industrious presence around the park, Flashman was at the heart of an impressive forward effort.

Australian-born centre Marc Koteczky only arrived at College Meadow last month, having previously spent two seasons from 2015 with Plymouth. But he made an immediate impact against his former club. Strong, compact and an astute footballer with the ball in hand, he combined impressively with midfield partner George Eastwell. It’s no coincidence that Elthamians made almost as many line breaks against Plymouth as they did in their three previous matches combined.

In an entertaining but error-strewn opening 40 minutes, Plymouth had started the brighter of the two sides and opened the scoring after only eight minutes.

Elthamians had done well initially to force a turnover defending their own line, but Tom White’s attempted clearance kick was charged down by his Plymouth counterpart Dan Mugford who dived on the loose ball to score, the fly-half converting his own try.

White made amends two minutes later with a penalty after Plymouth lock Dan Collier was yellow carded for killing the ball following a strong break from Koteczky in midfield which had taken OEs into the visitors’ 22 for the first time.

But Mugford restored the visitors’ seven-point advantage on 16 minutes when OEs flanker Mike Kovacic penalised for a high tackle, following a lacerating break from impressive Plymouth scrum-half Pierre Thompson which had taken play to within a couple of metres of the OEs try-line.

In a frenetic first quarter, despite seeing plenty of ball, Elthamians lacked composure at crucial moments, again conceding too many penalties or committing unforced errors having worked hard to put themselves in strong attacking positions.

But as the half wore, the confidence began to grow in the home ranks and the majority of the play in the closing 10 minutes of the first period took place in and around the Plymouth 22.

White kicked his second penalty following good work from Eastwell to cut the deficit to four points, and Elthamians looked to have taken the lead for the first time on the half hour mark when winger George Perkins dived over in the corner from Eastwell’s looping mis-pass. But referee Callum Howard adjudged the pass was forward and disallowed the score.

White missed a penalty attempt on the stroke of half-time after the Elthamians had shunted the visitors back at scrum-time, but it was a sign that momentum had begun to shift towards the home side after the uncertainty of the opening exchanges.

Indeed, OEs came scorching out of the blocks after the restart. Slick hands from the backs released Perkins who raced 40 metres up the touchline but his off-load to Adam Batt inside was deemed forward.

Perkins was not to be denied five minutes later, however, as Elthamians took the lead for the first time. Lovely inter-play involving both backs and forwards saw OEs move the ball to both flanks, stretching the Plymouth defence for Perkins to force his way over in the corner.

When White added his third penalty of the game on 50 minutes following another strong break from Eastwell, Elthamians were playing as well as at any time this season.

However, the game exploded into life for the wrong reasons on 58 minutes. A strong tackle by Plymouth replacement Rus Tuima on Perry Parker sparked an ugly melee in the centre of the field. After extended consultation with his assistants, referee Howard showed red cards to Tuima and Parker.

With tensions still running high after the fracas, White kicked his fourth penalty to extend the lead to 17-10 only for Elthamians to find themselves down to 13 men when flanker Adam Batt was yellow carded for a late tackle.

It sparked a period of sustained Plymouth pressure, culminating in a wonderful try scored on 67 minutes to level the scores. Visitors sub Cam Setter took a quick tapped penalty and chipped the ball over the on-rushing OEs defence for winger Alex Ducker to collect the loose ball, step inside the last defender and touch down.

With the scores level entering the final 10 minutes, it was Elthamians who took a firm stranglehold on proceedings, putting the visitors under heavy pressure in their own half.

White regained the lead for the home side with his fifth successful penalty after strong work by his forwards in the scrum on 71 minutes before victory was secured with the Old Boys’ crucial second try of the afternoon just a minute later.

It started with a massive tackle from replacement hooker Jarad Saunders which forced a turnover and allowed winger Bryan Hotson to break into the Plymouth 22. When he was brought down, the ball was moved quickly wide for full-back Louis Brown to step inside his tackler and dive between the posts for his first try for the club.

Old Elthamians
Tries: Perkins 44 Brown 72
Cons: White 73
Pens: White x 5 (11 23 47 53 71)

Tries: Mugford 7 Ducker 67
Cons: Mugford 7 Eastgate 67
Pens: Mugford 16 Eastgate 77

Old Elthamians: Brown, Hotston, Koteczky, Eastwell, Perkins, White, Claxton; Concu, Morris, North, Flashman, Parker, Kovacic, Barton, Batt. Subs: Hay, Saunders, Devine, Morgan, Dockery.

Plymouth: Eastgate, Skelcey, Powell, Pohe, Ducker, Mugford, Thompson, Chapman, Norey, Pullinger, Collier, Kelly, Daly, Mills, Stupple. Subs: Salter, Tuima, Setter, Higgins, Squire.

Referee: Callum Howard

Half-time: OId Elthamians 6 Plymouth Albion 10

Chinnor 32 – 29 Bishops Stortford
Report by Jack Johnson, Chinnor Rugby

JASON Worrall’s late try decided an action-packed contest as Chinnor made it back-to-back home wins with victory over Bishops Stortford.

Trailing by two points with ten minutes remaining, the Thame-based club needed to dig deep to avoid defeat at Kingsey Road.

And winger Worrall dived over in the 75th minute as Chinnor put last weekend’s late defeat at Rams behind them with a morale-boosting bonus-point win over a side they had only beaten twice in their last ten meetings.

The Oxfordshire outfit arguably could have done without another tense finale, but it may prove to be a pivotal victory with the highlights including Luc Jeannot and Nick Selway scoring their first tries for the club.

Director of rugby Matt Williams made seven changes, three positional, for the National League 1 contest.

Jeannot came in at tight-head prop, with Willie Ryan moving to lock and Ben Manning and Izzy Moore-Aiono starting at blindside flanker and No 8 respectively.

Pete Laverick, dual-registered with Exeter Chiefs, was handed his debut at outside centre, with Kieran Goss moved to full back and Worrall to the right wing.

Chinnor made a fast start and opened up a 14-point lead after 13 minutes.

Fly-half Laurence May sent Chris Elder racing through a gap and the centre’s fine one-handed offload put Jeannot over under the posts. May converted to make it 7-0.

Chinnor doubled their lead moments later when Goss scampered down the right and crossed in the corner, May brilliantly adding the extras from the touchline.

Stortford responded well to the early setback and hit back on 25 minutes when fly-half Bradley Burr’s no-look pass sent winger Chris Smith over, full-back Tom Walker adding the extras.

And the visitors ended the half on top, but Walker was unable to convert his own try as Chinnor led 14-12 at the break.

Stortford started the second period in the same vein and Sam Winter’s try, Walker adding the extras, put the visitors 19-14 in front.

But Chinnor responded impressively and driving lineouts led to two unconverted tries from replacement hooker Selway as they retook the lead.

They looked to have really got a foothold in the game when May’s penalty extended their advantage to eight points after 66 minutes, but Stortford were not finished.

Smith scored his second try, Walker adding the extras, as Chinnor’s lead was cut to 27-26.

And Walker’s penalty put the hosts back in front with ten minutes to go as the hosts stared successive defeats in the face.

But Chinnor were not to be denied this week.

Another driving lineout pinned Stortford on their own try-line and the ball was worked through the hands of May and Elder for Worrall to dive over for an unconverted try in the corner to make it 32-29.

Despite a late push from Stortford, that was how it stayed as Chinnor picked up a morale-boosting bonus-point win.

Chinnor: Goss, Worrall, Laverick, Elder, Yawayawa, May, Ashby, Fidler, George, Jeannot, Thomas, W Ryan, Manning, Kirwan, Moore-Aiono.
Replacements: Southworth, Selway, Gray, C Ryan, Flinn.

Bishops Stortford: Walker, M Ayrton, Winter, J Ayrton, Smith, Burr, Spivey, Brownhill, King, Harrison-Price, George, Lewis, Apperley, Ball, Kingham.
Replacements: Caulfield, Nel, Etherington, Keen, Cappaert.

Darlington Mowden Park 26 – 27 Cinderford
Report by Tom Bulmer, DMP

Mowden’s ‘Jeckyll and Hyde’ start to the season continued at the Darlington Arena yesterday, with a narrow one point defeat to visitors Cinderford RFC, who looked ‘dead and buried’ after the home side had dominated the first half.

However, after oranges Mowden looked a shadow of first half the side who had prevented the visitors from registering any score at all before the interval.

The home side found their mojo early doors and were soon ahead after Cinderford were caught offside in defence, with home fly half Warren SEALS made no mistake with the resulting penalty. (3 – 0)

With Cinderford starved of any ball, Mowden’s early possession domination saw them on the attack, sweeping upfield, with wing Brandon ASHER WOOD cutting a fine line across the visitors defence to register the first try of the game, (8 – 0) SEALS converting well from wide out. (10 – 0)

Mowden continued to press for further reward, but some resolute defence from the visitors prevented several promising attacks. On two occasions , further certain try scoring opportunities were snuffed out as the official adjudged that forward passes had occurred in the build up.

Warren SEALS added two further penalties before the break, as Cinderford transgressed due to the pressure of the home attack.

Cinderford mounted a counter attack just prior to the interval, with a series of set scrums, forcing Mowden into concede a couple of scrum penalties. As Cinderford tried for the pushover or a penalty try, Mowden turned the tables and countered with a fine defensive scrum, forcing the Cinderford pack backwards and into conceding a penalty themselves.

For the second game running, Mowden failed to build on a good first half performance and presented Cinderford the window of opportunity they hadn’t had in the first forty minutes. Cinderford slowed the frenetic first half pace down, which brought rewards as after just four minutes of the restart, a series of pick and and drives from the forwards edged the visitors close to the home line, with flanker Matt GILBERT hauled over the whitewash for Cinderford’s first try and first points of the game, (16 – 5) James BUTLER converting. (16 – 7)

Cinderford began to control possession in this half and hard-working flanker Joe MULLIS added another try after a further eight minutes (16 – 12), Butler again converting. (16 – 14)

A brace of BUTLER penalties put Cinderford ahead (16 – 20), before SEALS narrowed it down to a one point gap in favour of the visitors with a penalty of his own (19 – 20)

As the game entered the final ten minutes, the home side went close after incisive runs from Callum IRVINE and Ben FRANKLAND, but it was home wing Callum Mackenzie who latched on to a SEALS chip, gather and pass, to score near the posts (24 – 20) and with the SEALS conversion, (26 – 20) Mowden seemed to have won it with only five minutes or less remaining.

Home replacement lock Talite VAIOLETI entered the field at this time, but was soon straight back off again, when yellow carded for a high tackle. From the resultant penalty, Cinderford kicked to the corner and MULLIS scored from the catch and drive. (26 – 25)

So, agonisingly, it was all down to the last kick of the game and Cinderford replacement Stefan HAWLEY kept his composure to kick the winning conversion for the one point win. (26 – 27)

15. Callum IRVINE, 14. Brandon ASHER-WOOD, 13. Ben FRANKLAND, 12. Ben DIXON, 11. Callum MACKENZIE, 10. Warren SEALS, 9. Euan McKIRDY, 1. Alfie BARRON, 2. Ralph APPLEBY, 3. Ignas DARKINTIS (Conor WARD, 50), 4. Max DAVIES, 5. Dave FISHER (Tlite VAIOLETI, 79), 6. Daniel GRANGE, 7. George STOKES, 8. Oliver HODGSON.

Reps not used: Joe DUFFY, Oliver WALKER, Joe LANE)

Conversion: SEALS (12, 74)
Penalty: SEALS (4, 17, 34, 67)
Drop Goal: None
Penalty Try: None
Yellow Card: Talite VAIOLETI (79)

15. Edward SHELDON, 14. Samuel SMITH, 13. William MANSFIELD, 12. Terence BABARINSA, 11. Timi OLOPADE, 10. James BUTLER (Stefan HAWLEY, 63), 9. Alexander FRAME (James DEAN, 67), 1. Joseph SMART, 2. Geroge PORTER (James ELLIOTT, 46), 3. Timothy BROCKETT (Sam BAKER, 50), 4. Tyler JERRUM (Lewis BEER, 52), 5. Dale LEMON, 6. Mathew GILBERT, 7. Joe MILLS, 8. George EVANS.

Reps:All Used.

Try: GILBERT (44), MULLIS (52, 80)
Conversion: BUTLER (45, 53), HAWLEY (80)
Penalty: BUTLER (56, 61)
Drop Goal: None
Penalty Try: None
Yellow Card: None

Attendance: 777
Referee: Mr Harry Walbaum
Referee’s Assistants: Mr Paul FINCKEN, Mr Simon Paul O’Neil.
Player of the Match: Warren SEALS (DMPRFC)

Richmond 37 – 22 Rams
Report from Richmond Rugby website

Richmond have moved four points clear at the top of National League 1 after an excellent 37-22 bonus point win over Rams at the Athletic Ground.

On an overcast afternoon and in front of a strong home crowd, Richmond withstood the Rams challenge to extend their unbeaten run to five matches and maintain their impressive start to the season.

In a tense and bruising encounter, Richmond opened the scoring in the second minute of the match with sharpshooter Rob Kirby slotting the early penalty. Two minutes later Richmond extended their lead, with Jake Parker on the end of a bulldozing maul to give the hosts a 10 point advantage.

However, Rams continued to claw their way back into the match and were rewarded in the 22nd minute when wing Conor Carrigan crossed in the corner to reduce the deficit to five points.

Richmond continued to apply the pressure though and with Rams penalised in the scrum, Kirby kicked truly to send the home side to a 13-5 lead.

With a large contingent of travelling supporters behind them, the visitors roared back into the fixture when centre Andrew Humberstone collected a lovely kick to run away and score, reducing the margin to 13-12 with five minutes remaining in the half.

However, their confidence was blunted two minutes later when prop Sean McDonell-Roberts was shown a yellow card. It gave Richmond the opportunity to forge further ahead, with Ross Grimstone delivering the home side’s second try of the afternoon in the 40th minute.

Heading into the second half with a 20-12 lead, Timmy Walford also found himself in trouble with the referee and was sent for a ten minute rest. Down to 14 players, Richmond’s advantage was cut to five points as Ram slotted the penalty.

But again Richmond hit back, delivering a hammer blow in the 48th minute through Hamish Graham, who collected a beautiful long pass from skipper Cam Mitchell to run away and score.

With victory guaranteed, Richmond continued to push ahead, desperate to score the bonus point try. That moment came in the 81st minute when replacement Charlie Gibbings barged his way over the line to cement another outstanding Richmond win.

Player of the Match Jamie Gibbs said: “It was a really tough contest. We knew Rams would arrive with a lot of enthusiasm, but the boys dug deep and worked hard to get the bonus point victory. It’s a great feeling to be undefeated after five matches, it was an objective we set ourselves, so to achieve that means we can now look forward to the next block of exciting fixtures.”

Director of Rugby Steve Hill said: “This was a much improved performance by our whole squad. I was very pleased with a number of areas, in particular our forward pack who worked exceptionally hard all afternoon. The scrum and driving maul were a potent threat and we disrupted the Rams lineout at multiple points. Rob Kirby’s kicking was again outstanding and his accuracy enabled us to maintain the lead at crucial moments throughout the match. We still need to reduce our penalty count if we are going to sustain pressure on the opposition, however to earn a bonus point victory over the second placed club in the league is a terrific outcome.”

Sale FC 13 – 46 Rosslyn Park

No report found.